Dr. Martin Blankenship is a Chiropractor practicing in St Petersburg, FL. Dr. Blankenship specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions associated with the neuromusculoskeletal system, while improving each patients functionality and quality of life. Conditions treated include sciatica, neck pain, and arthritis... more
I’m sure most of us experience some sort of stress on a daily basis. Whether it's traffic, running late, taking care of your family, etc., stress is simply a part of life. And while this day-to-day stress is completely normal, it becomes a problem when it happens frequently.
In fact, chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body. Recent studies have revealed just how dangerous chronic stress can be in relation to your health. So how exactly does stress impact your health? What are some ways you can reduce and manage your stress?
1. The Stress Response and How It Impacts Your Health
The first step in learning how to manage your stress is understanding how your body responds to stress. When you are faced with a dangerous or stressful situation, your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body.
Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones. Some of the hormones released include adrenaline and cortisol.
Cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone, increases sugars in the bloodstream. Additionally, it enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. When cortisol is released into your body, it alters the way it functions.
For example, it alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system, and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation, and fear.